Thursday, December 23, 2010

Boots redux

A decade or so ago, I bought a pair of non-GoreTex Brasher Hillmasters at Tiso’s in Edinburgh. (For my American reader, long A in Brasher.) I used them quite a bit for a while, and had them on my feet during my worst-ever fall, in the Lakes. I was then seduced by the lightness of trail runners, and tucked the stodgy old Brashers away.

I literally stumbled over them last week, as I was hauling out my ’70s-vintage Sorel boots in preparation for a snowstorm that never materialized. Tried ’em on. Swapped out destroyed old footbeds for Superfeet, ongoing experiments with sock combos. Not bad. Possibly New Zealand bound.*

I’ve always had a weak spot for Brashers, because of Chris Brasher, who was, well, Chris Brasher, an amazing and admirable man. I especially cherish this semi-famous story from the linked obit. Brasher won the 1956 Olympic Steeplechase Gold Medal in Melbourne, but:
was initially disqualified for interfering with another runner as he made his burst for home, and he had to wait three agonising hours for the judges’ decision to be overturned—so long that his medal ceremony was postponed to the following day. The much relieved Brasher, and a dozen British sportswriters, celebrated through the night, ensuring that he entered the annals as one of the few Olympic champions to have received their gold medal “blind drunk, totally blotto, with an asinine grin on my face.”

*Which will be in 44 days, 8 hours, 25 minutes, and 27 seconds. If anybody’s counting.


Alan Sloman said...

Great post, Mark.
Reading Chris Brasher's Guardian Obit I was surprised that it didn't mention Chris's help in in the purchase of a great chunk of Knoydart for the people that lived there.

There are folk on the Challenge who swear by his boots - the lightness, the grip etc. But unfortunately they seem to be made for people with great plates of meat - my girly feet slopped around in them terribly.

Give them a couple of good doses of Nikwax - they should be great for your antipodean trip.

So - when will we see you again on the Challenge, young man?

(I thought your attire for that Lakes trip very suitable - lots of ventilation)

Mark Alvarez said...

I don't think I knew about Brasher and Knoydart. My little beeline, Inverie-Sourlies-Kinbreak-Tomdoun was wonderful, if a little more, mmm, stressful than I'd expected.

When I get back from NZ in March, I'm going to start trying to find someone among my friends here interested in Challenge 2012. I want a different start, but I'd like to pick up my original route in FA. In any event, the sooner the better or someone will have to push me across in a chair.

(Yes, I was really stylin' in Wasdale. You can see how elegant we are in the White Mountains.

Have a wonderful Christmas and holidays, Alan.